Easter Seals Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

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October 25th Event Honors Supporters and Program Participants of Easter Seals New Jersey’s Employment Services

Employment opportunities empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and the chance to fully participate in and contribute to society. It provides the ability to say 'Yes, I can!'

On October 25th, 2012, Easter Seals Raritan Valley Workshop, which employs more than 200 individuals with various disabilities, will celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month by honoring its program participants and the community of businesses and donors who support them at its 42nd Annual Awards Dinner and fundraiser at the Somerset Double-Tree Hotel, in Somerset NJ.

This year’s Continuous Commitment Award will be presented to Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Meeting Logistics Team for their long-time commitment to supporting employment for people with disabilities. Additional honorees include Pizza Hut of North Brunswick as Employer of the Year for continuing to provide jobs in the community for program participants, Ellen Albrecht and Mary Smith will be recognized as Volunteers of the Year, and special recognition will also be given to Mark Inselberg for his long-time generosity and support.

Four program participants from the Easter Seals New Jersey Packaging and Fulfillment workshop will receive Employee of the Year Awards in recognition of outstanding performance and personal commitment to excellence in competitive employment, both in the workshop and in community employment.

The month of October was designated "National Disability Employment Awareness Month" by Congress in 1988. Since then, October has evolved as the kick-off month for year-round programs designed to recognize social and cultural contributions made by people with disabilities, and to increase awareness of the changes still needed to create equal opportunities and community inclusion.

“Employment opportunities empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and the chance to fully participate in and contribute to society,” says Brian Fitzgerald, ceo CEO and president of Easter Seals New Jersey. “It provides the ability to say ‘Yes I can!’ We believe everyone has something valuable to contribute to their community.”

Approximately 50 million people have disabilities, yet remain one of America’s greatest untapped labor resources, with nearly 70 percent of this population still unemployed.

For nearly 45 years, Easter Seals New Jersey has recognized the importance of earning an independent paycheck and achieving self-sufficiency, having helped thousands of people with disabilities and special needs to successfully enter the workforce or to return to work after an illness or injury. Employment is provided in one of the three work sites, training and placement in jobs in the community, and volunteer opportunities for acquiring valuable skills.

The local community is encouraged to show their support by purchasing tickets to the event, which will take place at the Somerset Double Tree Hotel, for $125 per person. Donations of auction items for the fundraising event are also needed. Corporate tables and advertising opportunities are also available. Further information can be obtained by calling (732) 828-8080.

Packaging and Fulfillment Services by Easter Seals Benefits Area Businesses while Employing People with Disabilities

At the workshop, the lives of many individuals with disabilities are positively impacted by the employment opportunities presented to them through a flow of sub-contract work. The facility utilizes state of the art equipment that includes shrink-wrap tunnels, L-sealers, a carton taping machine, eight 30-foot conveyer belts, a pallet wrapper, a strapping machine, and two fork lifts to meet the diverse business needs of its customers.

“Over the years, we’ve developed a loyal customer base that relies on our packing and production services to keep their businesses running cost-efficiently,” says Colleen Ward, business development manager for Easter Seals.

More importantly, the workshops have also served to raise public awareness of the important contributions made to the community by people with disabilities and the integral role they play in society.

Since 1967, Easter Seals’ Raritan Valley Workshop has supported individuals on their road to independence by promoting employment resources and opportunities for adults with disabilities. Easter Seals job training and employment services help people with disabilities develop skills to successfully enter the workforce or to return to work after an illness or injury and independently earn an income.

According to Colleen, it’s both rewarding and exciting to see individuals with all types of disabilities engaging in work that goes beyond limitations that most people expect of them. “I think the public is used to seeing a person with disabilities bagging groceries in their local supermarket or maybe even collecting shopping carts. But, there’s so much more that they are capable of doing that goes beyond that. And here at the workshop, we’re providing them with that opportunity,” she said.

But, with numerous cuts in funding for social service programs, the workshop now has to rely even more heavily on subcontract work in order to keep its participants employed.

“With little growth in the economy these past few years, it’s critical to get the word out that we offer this service to area businesses. We want them to know that there’s a place right in their own backyard that can not only fulfill their business needs, but also provide them with the reward of helping members of their own communities who have disabilities.”

For more information on how Easter Seals Raritan Valley Workshop can provide solutions for area businesses, please contact Colleen Ward at (732) 828-2032 or visit http://www.njpackagingservices.com.

About Easter Seals New Jersey:

The mission of Easter Seals New Jersey is to enable individuals with disabilities or special needs, and their families, to live, learn, work and play in their communities with equality, dignity and independence. A leading non-profit provider of comprehensive services for individuals with developmental disabilities including autism, physical disabilities, mental illness and other special needs, our services have been geared toward helping individuals remove obstacles along their path toward independence and full community-integration for nearly 65 years.

Easter Seals is committed to creating solutions and providing programs that produce tangible results in the lives of thousands of families in New Jersey. For more information on Easter Seals New Jersey and its statewide disability services, please contact us at 732-257-6662, or visit on-line at http://www.eastersealsnj.org or http://www.facebook.com/eastersealsnj.

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Alyson Balan-Altman
Easter Seals
732-257-6662 x290
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